Current Institutional Affiliation
Professor, History, Hofstra University

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2004
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
History, State University of New York (SUNY) / Stony Brook University
Promises of Participation: The Political Life of Football in Chile 1920-1970

This project will focus on the history of local football clubs and their relationship to politics in urban Chile. This dissertation hypothesizes that football drew Chilean men to political struggles, connected them to formal political parties, and served as an accessible site of political critique. Through their membership in football clubs, enthusiasts created new political practices and routinely participated in local and national politics. Chile's political system exhibited a degree of stability and democratic representation unparalleled in Latin America during this period. This enables the project to explore the historical connection between cultural practices, civic associations, and democratic politics. The widespread belief that fair play ruled the world of football rendered it a particularly powerful vehicle for enacting defining citizenship and embodying political messages. Drawing upon social scientists such as Pierre Bourdieu this project hopes to contribute to Latin American literature, as well as to engage with cross-disciplinary debates of the public sphere through an historical case study. To pursue the themes presented above, this project will delve into the routine life of local football clubs, relying upon multiple types of sources and analysis. Three case studies form the basis of this investigation. The core focus of this study is Santiago, the capital city and the axis of political power. The secondary investigations of the smaller cities of Iquique and Concepcion, each with distinctive political histories, will provide important comparative opportunities. This research will take a three-pronged track, first to study the political practices of local clubs and their change over time. Secondly, this project investigates the relationship between clubs and formal political institutions. Finally, the cultural production of clubs, team songs for instance, will provide key insights into the articulation of their political positions.